Working at utiliVisor: Melissa Morales Knows Data

Introducing utiliVisor's New Director of Energy Metering: Melissa Morales

 

Whether you're trying to generate revenue from your submetering program or you need to identify energy savings in your plant or facility, utiliVisor has become the go-to service provider for streamlining energy data and recovering utility costs. 

utiliVisor's team of energy experts includes engineers and billing analysts, all working to drive accuracy into your submetering and energy plant systems.

We caught up with Melissa Morales, utiliVisor's new Director of Energy Metering, to find out more about working at utiliVisor, Melissa's new role, and how she and the utiliVisor team continue to help clients save money and energy - despite the challenges of COVID.

What's your job title at utiliVisor?

Melissa: I am now the Director of Energy Metering. I oversee a team of energy billing analysts, field application meter readers, and have direct involvement with billing software testing.

How did you get your job at utiliVisor?

Melissa: Applying to the energy analyst position at utiliVisor is a multistep process. Having graduated from Iona College as a chemist led me to apply for this position after reading the job posting.

I felt that my understanding of process paired with my mathematical background could bring value to the company.

What drew you to utiliVisor's job posting?

Melissa: What drew me in was the title of Energy Analyst. I was interested in it because I enjoyed anything analytical but, more importantly, derived solutions from that information.

Looking at the utiliVisor website and the clients they worked with led me to think with my background, I could be an added value to their clients.

What is it about data and analysis that excites you?

Melissa: I would say it started when I was young. My favorite subjects were always math and science. It always came easy to me, and I just enjoyed it. 

Most people don't understand that when analyzing data, you need vast amounts of history to provide solutions that are repeatable. 

During my interview, Mr. Angerame talked about how the billing analysts were able to perform analysis that had meaning since they had over thirty years of interval meter data. That is powerful information! 

I was also excited to know that the Angerames invest heavily in their software development and take the feedback of their employees to drive these projects.

What did you notice about utiliVisor right away?

Melissa: It was exciting to see how utiliVisor was a company that had an Operations Center that was analyzing real-time energy data to help owners reduce cost.

I walked in the door, and it looked like a financial trading floor where groups of employees were gathered around 80" inch TV screens discussing these vast amounts of data they were collecting. 

It was very apparent that the company owners were extremely hands-on as they were out on the operations floors working with the engineering team.

When I went upstairs to the billing analyst floor, Peter Angerame had his team gathered around discussing predictive analytics for tenant consumption.

How does that play into the culture at utiliVisor?

Melissa: If you're in a bigger company, you can sort of fall to the background. Company owners may overlook your work.

But when you're in a smaller company, when you do good, it's noticed and rewarded. I could tell that that was going to be the environment when I first went into the interview. And it has been. I enjoy that.

The office culture is a place that encourages learning and is driven by achieving success for both personal accomplishments and the client's improvements.

Tell us a little bit about your day. What's the first thing you do when you come into the office every day?

Melissa: Starting my day early has been key to my advancement at utiliVisor. Because of the technology in place at utiliVisor, I can wake up and see a list of active open items through our mobile applications while on the commute to work!

This allows me to walk into the office and enjoy that first cup of coffee!! 

Organization is key to success at utiliVisor. We have an internal audit process where we review one another's work.

This means that anything we're sending to the clients has had at least two sets of eyes looking at it. That's usually the first two hours of everyone's morning.

Reviewing and making sure everything that goes out is completely accurate.

What does the rest of your day look like?

Melissa:

  • The first thing I do is reach out to my billing analysts to check on the day's schedules/activities. 

  • Next, I meet with my Vice President each morning to address any priorities for the day. 

  • For the remainder of the morning, I am creating tenant submetering packages.

  • In the afternoons, I am spearheading the functionality testing of our new mobile application and have daily calls with our software developers. 

  • Before I leave each night, I confirm that each of my billing analysts has met their schedules to produce the tenant invoices because turnaround time for our clients is crucial.
    The process of coordination between the meter readers, our service department, and our billing team is key to our success as a business.

What do you like most about your job?

Melissa: There are many aspects of my job that I enjoy. Analyzing meter consumption values, auditing building utility invoices, reading commercial tenant leases, and understanding all components that go into generation submeter charges. 

What I like most, however, is the collaborative effort between all of utiliVisor's departments.

utiliVisor has a meter reading department, meter service department, engineering department, and a team of billing analysts that are all learning from one another constantly. 

If there's one thing the executives of the company encourage, it's learning!

During my first week on the job, I spent a day at a site with one of our service technicians who was servicing a meter that was displaying an error message.

While onsite, I was able to see the different components of a meter and understand how the meter is tested for accuracy, and see what may cause a meter to be inaccurate. 

Having this hands-on experience so early on in my position helped me gain a large appreciation of the meter data I analyze daily.

What do you believe sets utiliVisor apart in the industry?

Melissa: Our ability to be fast and efficient when diagnosing meter issues and resolving them. 

In the event there is an issue with a meter, the information flows through each of our departments very quickly with the implementation of our new mobile submetering application and ticketing system. 

It starts with the meter reader, who carefully reads and documents all meter readings while onsite.

The billing analyst is then notified once the readings have been entered into our software. We complete an exceptions process to identify any consumption values that are not in line with the meter history we have.

Directly from our exceptions process, we're able to send a push notification to the client with any issues. The building engineers also can notify the analyst if they discover an issue themselves. 

 

Once the client views the mobile notification, they can request a proposal for meter service directly through the app. The biller is then notified and has a proposal sent and the work scheduled. Our service techs can immediately investigate the issue and report back to us with findings to ensure that all billing remains accurate.

You're helping buildings and facilities reduce their carbon footprint and energy costs. Do you ever think about the impact you're having?

Melissa: Of course. I think this became even more evident to me during this unique time with COVID.

Because we have such an extensive amount of history saved within our database, we can provide our clients with exact values as to how much their tenant's energy consumption has decreased compared to the same period last year. 

In the event the decrease was not as much as we would have expected, we're able to offer insight as to what may be causing this and offer recommendations to help reduce overall energy and help the building save money.

With our remotely read buildings, our engineers can monitor this in real-time and provide these insights immediately!

What are some of your personal wins?

Melissa: When I received a call from Tim Angerame asking me to be the lead for the internal rollout of our new ticketing system and submetering mobile application.

This would become one of the largest projects I've worked on and have had input in while at utiliVisor.

In our meetings with our software developers, I was often asked for my advice on various aspects of the rollout. Creating an idea in a meeting and then seeing it implemented the following week is truly a great feeling.

What are you most excited about right now when it comes to working at utiliVisor and what you're doing?

Melissa: I'm most excited about returning to the office and seeing everyone again, safely, of course.

It was amazing to see how the billing department was able to transition to a remote work environment so quickly and smoothly and still be able to meet all deadlines and goals.

However, getting back into the office and getting to meet with my colleagues in person again will help us all produce even better results in our various projects and work obligations.